Our Story

In 2005 a diverse group of business leaders started a conversation about a major problem they shared. The compliance tools they had were typically paper-based manuals or Excel-based lists of Acts and Regulations, and weren’t working for anyone.

Instead, they all needed an effective legal compliance tool that would drive greater education and participation in legal risk at the operations level of their businesses. Such a tool would need to be online and always up to date with the law, and would:

  • Identify an organisation’s legislative compliance obligations and present them to the responsible roles in ways that would be aligned to business operations and easy for people to understand
  • Enable efficient and effective monitoring and reporting of compliance
  • Be easy to administer and adapt, including the ability to load in the organisation’s own additional content

The CFOs agreed that there was nothing in the market of this nature. A member of the group, our hero Terry Hughes, had an inspired idea. He suggested that they link up a good lawyer and good IT person and tell them the group’s wish list, and when it was built the lawyer and the techy would have ten guaranteed customers. Terry suggested that software developer Steve Marriott might be interested. Someone else added that barrister David Woodnorth could be a starter. 18 months of software development, intensive legal translation and steering group debates later, ComplyWith was born.

The initial steering group of early clients drove Dave and Steve to craft something truly unique, valuable and simple. Today the User Group community continues this fine tradition, keeping ComplyWith’s ideas and efforts informed, focused and relevant. And great word-of-mouth advocacy by their loyal customer community has been the primary driver of ComplyWith’s growth.

Now 10 years on, over 100 New Zealand organisations are using the cloud-based ComplyWith and ComplyWatch solutions, including:

  • The majority of government departments and statutory Crown entities, including most of the regulators
  • A handful of tertiary institutions
  • Several local authorities
  • Companies and co-operatives from a diverse range of industries including upstream and downstream energy, manufacturing, agriculture and food processing

It’s been a fantastic product development journey with exciting client-inspired ideas driving both content and software innovation.

When a large government department wanted to use ComplyWith to improve awareness and compliance for internal control policies and procedures, as well as external obligations, Dave and Steve jumped to the challenge and built the Controls Reporting platform add-on module.

ComplyWith’s content development and service implementation engine has also evolved over time, with a fine tuned methodology and experienced team not only keeping pace with legislation reform and regulatory change, but also creating content that is more and more aligned to how people in business think.

In 2014 the ComplyWith team began work to unpack the legal obligations from the draft new health and safety legislation, providing clarity on what the changes will actually mean for their clients as businesses. Smart client partnerships have also been nurtured in recent years to tackle detailed sector specific compliance content, such as the Electricity Industry Participation Code.

What will the future hold? Well, inspired by the type of feedback ComplyWith regularly receives, we are not resting easy on knowing we are NZ’s leading legal risk and compliance tool. We know that if we keep pushing ourselves our thinking will significantly disrupt the barriers that exist globally between the law and people in business knowing what they need to know.

If people knew how easy it (ComplyWith) is to use, they would not think twice about implementing it. The team from ComplyWith made it so very easy for us to set up and use.

Kerrie Cole, Director Finance and Corporate Services, External Reporting Board